The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution banned the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol. The 18th Amendment, which was proposed by the Senate on Dec. 18, 1917, was subsequently approved by 36 states, ratified on Jan. 16, 1919, and went into effect on Jan. 17, 1920.
The Volstead Act set down the rules for enforcing the ban and defined the types of alcoholic beverages that were prohibited. Ownership and consumption of alcoholic beverages by private individuals were not banned.
Dubbed the "Noble Experiment" by its supporters, Prohibition led to widespread flouting of the law by otherwise law-abiding citizens, the appearance of a violent and profitable black market, rampant growth of organized crime, and corruption within police departments.
Many of Chicago's most notorious gangsters, including Al Capone and his enemy Bugs Moran, made millions of dollars through illegal alcohol sales. By the end of the 1920s, Capone controlled all 10,000 speakeasies in Chicago and ruled the bootlegging business from Canada to Florida.
Prohibition lasted until Dec. 5, 1933, when it was repealed by the 21st Amendment. Dec. 5, 2013, will mark the 80th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition.
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